Denver Post journalist Tamara Chuang called on Eboxlab owner Dennis Gladkih to find out the safest way to get rid of personal data. Read the full article below.
Q: What is the safest way to delete all personal data from a computer? I have some old computers I would like to donate but want to ensure that all personal data are removed. Unfortunately, I do not have the software for the old OS (Windows 2000 and XP), so wiping everything clean and starting over is not an option if I want it in a condition that makes the computer usable. I have read that creating a new admin user and then removing all existing users will remove all information. Any suggestions?
— Steve Ray, Longmont
A: The safest way? Destroy the hard drive. Besides, Windows 2000 and XP are about 15 years old and are no longer supported by Microsoft.
Yes, there is software available to wipe existing hard drives. But I’m sure you’ve heard those stories of folks in the know who manage to recover erased data if they really want to. There are even companies that provide data recovery service, like Eboxlab Data Recovery in Denver.
I called Eboxlab to see what they suggest.
“We recommend complete destruction,” owner Denis Gladkih said.
“Sure, you can delete the files“, he said. But anyone can recover them from the virtual recycle bin.
You can also reinstall the operating system. But unless your old data is securely and completely removed, it still exists on the hard drive and can be recovered with the proper tools
But if you really don’t want anyone to recover your data, you’ve got to destroy the hard drive”, Gladkih said.
Eboxlab offers data recovery but also data destruction services. For $15 it destroys the drive with a physical shredder.
Donation centers like Goodwill’s Good Electronics Program will also take your old PC and recycle it. They do wipe all data at a secure facility in a way “exceeding Department of Defense standards,” according to the organization. Then they attempt to refurbish the computer so it can be resold at its stores.
But if the computer is no good, Goodwill takes it apart and recycles the pieces.
— Tamara Chuang, The Denver Post